The Knicks walked into Tuesday’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers having lost their last 15 match-ups. However, they weren’t going to let it continue one-game further, as they overcame the 76ers 112–99.
Philadelphia had scored over 108 points in the first three games of the season but was held to just 99 by the Knicks, thanks to stellar defense in the first half, keeping them to just 42 points.
The second half of the game proved to be a bit more efficient for Philadelphia, but the Knicks matched them in intensity and offensive prowess. Let’s take a look at a few main takeaways from the victory.
Three takeaways for the Knicks in impressive win over 76ers:
1.) The Knicks are capable of overcoming poor defense with electric offense
Head coach Tom Thibodeau will undoubtedly be a bit frustrated with his team’s second-half defensive performance, but the first half made up for it and then some.
Quality offense made their defensive struggles a bit less obvious, despite Georges Niang hitting consistent shots from the left corner unguarded. He finished with 13 points, connecting on 3-of-5 shots from range.
Thibodeau will want to clean up some of those mental mishaps but otherwise will be happy with the performance of his team, given they matched Philadelphia offensively and provided elite defense in the first half. New York shot 47% from the field, 43% from 3-PT range, and 93% from the free-throw line.
2.) Kemba Walker will be a catalyst against better teams
Kemba Walker was an absolute monster for the Knicks in the victory, contributing 19 points and five assists over 28 minutes. When the team originally signed him, they saw an impact playmaker who could change the course of a game, and he did just add against the 76ers. He finished shooting 45.5% from three point range, allowing just one turnover.
Walker’s ability to maintain momentum and match any Philadelphia counters helped the Knicks extensively. His value over Elfrid Payton can’t go understated.
3.) Unslefish Julius is the best version of Julius
Against Orlando, All-Star power forward Julius Randle tried to carry the team on his back when the three-point shots weren’t hitting. Despite him scoring 30 points, he shot just 8-of-24 from the field and 20% from range. Randle tried to force shots in isolation, which ended up stalling the Knicks’ offense, but he did the exact opposite of that against Philadelphia.
Randle contributed 16 points, being outscored by Walker and Evan Fournier. However, he also earned seven assists and 11 rebounds, showcasing his vision and facilitation. When Randle is unselfish and taking high percentage shots, that is when he’s at its best, and usually, it results in victory.